Finding Joy in Mothering

Finding joy in Mothering… I’ve heard the expression many times before. It’s an admirable goal, I think. Mothering is full of joyful moments, full of fulfillment, full of tenderness and love. There are hard moments, yes. But the joy is there. We just have to find it.

FIND.

Ha. Have you ever thought about the implications of that word? If something must be found, that means it’s hidden, right? It isn’t sitting right on the surface for all the world to see. It isn’t out in the open, exposed, easy to acquire. The word find implies a little bit more challenge than that, doesn’t it?

Could there be a more fitting word? Sometimes, I’m not so sure I can FIND the joy in and amidst the chaos. Surely there is no joy hidden under couch cushions covered with goldfish crumbs or behind toilets that always smell like pee. Is there really joy to be found in piles of laundry that are taller than me (NOT an exaggeration) or in muddy dog footprints, or in sticky messes or crusty counters or the sanity sucking volume that accompanies a pack of five children everywhere they go? Is there joy when you never really get enough sleep and you never really ever have time to yourself and you just can’t seem to manage one more thing and yet, there always IS one more thing?

You know, I think where a lot of us go wrong is that we think finding joy in mothering means getting through the mothering so we can find joy on our own. Does that make sense? We focus only on what we want to do with our time when we aren’t with our children. We live for nap time. We count down the hours until bedtime so we can finally have a moment’s peace. I get that. Sometimes I hate to go to sleep at night because it means we’ll all wake up again the next morning, and when they’re awake, they’re just so loud!

But that isn’t joy. Not in the truest sense.

Last night, my baby said Mama for the first time.

My son figured out fractions. My daughter loaded the dishwasher all by herself. My boys lay in bed far past their bedtime talking, relating, laughing. My 3 year old said a prayer all by himself. One child helped another with genuine, unsolicited kindness.

I found joy in those moments.

Joy is knowing that these little people who make us crazy will grow up and be our finest friends. Joy is knowing that inside those tiny faces are spirits – spirits just like ours, only younger. (If you look in their eyes, I mean really look, you can see it.) Joy is knowing the sweetness of ultimate acceptance and unfailing forgiveness that only a family can give.

Today, I hope you’ll stop trying to catch up. (Because really, why catch up? You have to do it all again tomorrow anyway.) I hope you’ll stop trying to do more or clean more or finish just one more thing. I hope you’ll slow down, look under, over and everywhere to find a little bit of true mothering JOY.

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13 thoughts on “Finding Joy in Mothering

  1. Lesa says:

    Love this post! I am in the stage of life with teenagers and one granddaughter. Life is funny how it speeds by. I didn't take time to enjoy the moments and find the joy when they were little. I'm working on finding that joy everyday with teenagers. And I'm actually enjoying it. 🙂

  2. The Planet Pink says:

    Brilliant post. And it's so true. I do so often search for joy in the times I'm alone, rather than seeking it out when I'm with my children. When I do that I miss out on so much. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. iamwoman says:

    Perfect explanation of how we should reflect DAILY.Last night my son asked me to make an gigantic evil robot with his legos. I did what I thought was good, but he said it wasn't good because it didn't have a face. Now, I don't know about you, but how the heck do you make a LEGO face? It made me smile. JOY, for sure.

  4. Happy Mom says:

    My mantra for the last few months has been "men are that they might have joy". I decided that I need to find the joy, not just in my children and husband, but even in the "chores" of being a sahm. Why spend a big portion of my life in angst or trying to avoid the not fun parts of it?Nice thoughts!

  5. T says:

    Such important truths!Sometimes I think Joy is just waiting to be found, and if I'd only stop what I'm doing and silence a few distractions (not the kids) then it wouldn't be so hard to find after all. On that note, I am going to go read my daughter her story and tuck her in – that's my favorite piece of Joy all day 🙂

  6. Corine says:

    You are SO RIGHT.My blog is titled "Joy in the Journey." It is always there. Among the dirty dishes. Among the chaos. And especially among the challenges. I LOVE life! I love it because I love people, and challenges! 😀 Really. I love that life isn't cookie cutter perfect. It is hard. It is interesting. It is filled with challenges, and AS equally filled with the joy that is found in the anticipation, hope and work involved in overcoming. And joy is found in OVERCOMING. If life were easy, it wouldn't be of value.Wow… that just spilled out! :O Thanks for the great post. ;DCorine

  7. Qait says:

    I read your comment on That Girl's blog where you said "booger woman" and it made me laugh (yeah, I've got just that kind of humor), so I thought I'd check out your blog…Well, what a great post! This is wonderful and well-said. Thanks. I probably needed it today.Mommies need to be good finders. :)~Q

  8. Lara says:

    Ah, you are so right. It's those little moments that bubble up to the top of all the chaos that make it all worth it.I haven't been finding (or keeping) much joy lately. Life is just too crazy, but you have inspired me to look harder.

  9. Charlotte says:

    I love those joyful mothering moments. I often find myself "getting through the mothering so we can find joy on our own." Thanks for the reminder of where I need to be looking to find my joy more often!

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